Our Beloved Mr. Darcy


Jane Austen published Pride and Prejudice 200 years ago, when the concept of the pop culture fan as we know it today—particularly as depicted in the recent novel and film Austenland, about an Austen–themed resort—had yet to be dreamed up. Nonetheless, Austen’s book got some positive reviews in its first couple of months, it sold some copies (she received no royalties), and the rest is history. Countless film, television and theatrical adaptations later, Austen’s most popular novel continues to inspire the kind of devotion that the Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey and Hunger Games series do. What’s the secret of her book’s longevity? We suspect it has something to do with Mr. Darcy.

“Oooh, Mr. Darcy!” A brooding, intelligent, sensitive, handsome aristocrat devoted to his best friend and his younger sister, Darcy has been portrayed by Laurence Olivier and Matthew Macfadyen but most notably by Colin Firth, in the 1995 BBC miniseries version. It features a scene of Mr. Darcy emerging dripping wet from a swim in the lake at his estate, Pemberley, only to find Elizabeth Bennett touring the grounds with her family. We decided to take a look at Mr. Darcy’s Mediander Connects to see if we could find anything titillating.

Sure enough, Connects does not disappoint. The top connections for Darcy are Elizabeth (true love!) and Pemberley (a man and his estate are even closer companions, shades of Downton Abbey!), followed by the most famous Darcy performance of all—that BBC production from ’95! The video of the lake scene, complete with the maddeningly awkward post-swim small talk between the couple-to-be, turns up in the Connects media section right away. Additionally, we were reminded that Mark Darcy, a stone-faced but emotionally vulnerable love interest (also played by Firth) in the giddy 2001 romantic comedy Bridget Jones’s Diary, is loosely based on Austen’s Mr. Darcy. Bridget Jones also spotlights a wet Firth, in a scene involving a fistfight in a fountain with Hugh Grant, set to the Darkness’s “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” which we hear has also made a few people weak in the knees. The Mediander Shop has some pretty good leads on Darcy-centric fiction, including the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy, by Pamela Aidan, and the Wold Newton Family science fiction series, by Philip José Farmer. We weren’t surprised to learn there’s even a sex pheromone named after the Prince Charming of Regency romance. How’s that for ammo for your literary crush?

Photo courtesy of Everett